By Tamas Mondovics
The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) adopted the final $4.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) at its final budget public hearing in September.
The new budget means that Lithia and surrounding area residents can finally put their worry of losing a Fire Rescue vehicle and ambulance crew (Rescue 2) currently placed at Fire Station No. 2, to rest.
Earlier this summer, County officials considered the temporary relocation of (Rescue 2) to Fire Station No. 16 in Riverview, which at the time did not have the service.
In a recent statement to the Osprey Observer, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said that a new rescue unit for the FishHawk/Brandon/Riverview area was funded by the BOCC vote for the FY17 budget year. The newly staffed unit went into service in October at the Riverview Fire Station No.16.
“We fought hard to keep Rescue 2 in Lithia and for a new unit to serve the Riverview community,” Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White said, adding, “ I am glad to have a part in these vital issues affecting my District.”
According to County officials the adopted budget for FY17, which began on October 1 and, represents a $100 million increase over last year represents a balanced, equitable plan to provide Hillsborough County residents with vital services.
In a recent press release County officials said that the FY16 capital budget continues a more normalized capital spending plan. The budget was balanced while, important needs and priorities were met without increasing the countywide millage rates.
Aside from funds to support its Fire Rescue, the sizable increase over the current (2016) budget means new funding for transportation, public safety, parks, and libraries for Hillsborough County.
It is safe to say that with the close calls from Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew supporting the County’s public safety departments and operations clearly remains on the top of the chart. Such services include the County’s new Public Safety Operations Complex, (PSOC).
Officials said, that work continues to progress at the new PSOC which will effectively replace the current Emergency Operations Center, (EOC).
The Logistics section of Fire Rescue has already moved into the new PSOC and it is anticipated that the remaining elements of HCFR management, including Emergency Management, will move in by the end of the year, County officials said.
Key FY17 budget areas include:
•$35 million for roadway, bridge, right-of-way, and sidewalk maintenance
•$7.1 million for expanded services in the County’s Indigent Health Care Program
•$5.7 million for Phase II of Carrollwood Village Community Park and Lucy Dell Community Pond improvements
•$5.2 million for new C. Blythe Andrews and Riverview libraries
•$1.3 million for a Fire Rescue roving unit pilot program
•$350,000 for a downtown Tampa to St. Petersburg ferry pilot program
A comprehensive overview of the FY2017 budget with accompanying documents can be found at HCFLGov.net/Budget.